The webcomics blog about webcomics

Viral Marketing

I found Kawaii Not long before I received the email that contained the backlog of creators who wanted some exposure through Fleen. My bet is, unless you have a Livejournal, you’ve never heard of Kawaii Not. The strip has one vote on, number 1068 of 1800 strips. Not the worse, but really not good at all.

Besides not having a lot of high profile publicity the four-panel strip, featuring bright and child-like characters, is hard to find simply because Livejournal obscures its own content. If you search for webcomics by interest on LJ, you find 434 communities and 430 persons. None of them, at least in my very brief perusal, were webcomics.

Then, how did I come across Kawaii Not? Icons.

Livejournal icons are the viral marketing of webcomics, and they’re a bit under-utilized by those creators who do not base their entire production on the LJ apparatus. Icons, or userpics, on livejournal have an option for “comments.” It is customary, common, and polite to credit the user or community that you downloaded the icon from in that “comment” section — as was the case with the distinctive Kawaii Not icons.

When used in discussion communities or other high volume areas (like LJ news posts), are highly visible and their origins are easily discernable. This makes them the perfect billboard for creators to please the fans as well as generate new interest and hits. A typical exchange would go like this:

User 1: “Awesome icon! Where did you get it?”
User 2: “Kawaii Not! It’s a great comic, you should read it.”

Official icons, or permission to use the artwork with proper credit, are an amazing way to market a webcomic to a fanbase who is particularly loyal, who would be willing to chat up the comic, link it, and recommend it. No need to press the readers to vote, no need to exchange links or join a group – have the readers do it. They’re more than willing to help.

On the flip side, if they’re looking for new webcomics, and you see a set of icons that all have similar artwork — check them out. They may be sequential art. Or they may be something else entirely which can also be quite fun.

I think that the viral marketing aspect of icons (for livejournal, chats, forums, etc) is a vitally important aspect of internettery which is often overlooked.

Which means I’m planning to support the hell out of it when my words-and-pictures project starts in the next few months.


Brilliant idea. Goes well with the LJ feeds that many webcomics end up with.

Would you recommend making some and letting readers know or just telling readers to feel free to make them?

Oh! I hadn’t thought about that.

Now to conquer the world with .gifs! (Okay, .pngs)

Of course, there are the silly artists who threaten lawsuits when people use their art for LJ icons…

[…] This little feat is done with RSS feeds, and can only be created by a paid or permanent Livejournal account holder. (Creators do have control, but they have to take an active role in stopping the feed.) If the feed isn’t in the top 1000 on LJ, or isn’t advertised in the community, it’s nearly impossible to find. But each official or unofficial feed has people commenting. (Notice the icons in those comments. Bunny icon, Megatokyo icon, Calvin and Hobbes icon!)So, while comics may have forums, there’s discussion elsewhere, which is something that should be realized, if not looked at, or — if you’re just that cool and above your celebrity — interacted with. […]

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